Quantcast
Connect with us

Philippines vows to crush ‘terrorists’ after church bombs kill 20

Published

on

The Philippines vowed to destroy those behind twin bombings that killed 20 people during a Sunday church service in the country’s restive south, six days after a referendum on autonomy for the mainly Muslim region returned an overwhelming “yes” vote.

The attack wounded 81 and was one of the deadliest in recent years in a region long plagued by instability. It came amid hope and excitement about the ratification of a devolution plan that aims to bring development, jobs and peace to one of Asia’s poorest and most volatile places.

ADVERTISEMENT

The first explosion went off inside the cathedral on Jolo island, in Sulu province, and was followed by a second blast outside, which was detonated as security forces raced to the scene, officials said.

“The enemies of the state have boldly challenged the capability of the government to secure the safety of the citizenry in that region,” said Salvador Panelo, spokesman of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The armed forces of the Philippines will rise to the challenge and crush these godless criminals.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but police suspect the bombings were the work of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and is notorious for its bombings and brutality.

“They want to show force and sow chaos,” national police chief Oscar Albayalde told DZMM radio, suggesting Abu Sayyaf was the prime suspect.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jolo is a stronghold of the group, which runs a lucrative piracy and kidnapping operation that successive governments have failed to break up. The group, which operates in the waters and islands of western Mindanao, has beheaded numerous foreign captives when ransom demands were not met.

Pictures distributed by the military of the inside of the Jolo church showed several rows of wooden pews destroyed, with debris strewn across a blackened floor.

‘DASTARDLY ACT’

The attack followed Friday’s announcement that the region, a mainly Muslim part of the predominantly Catholic Philippines, had ratified the creation of an autonomous area called Bangsamoro, with 85 percent of voters behind it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although Sulu was among only a few areas that rejected autonomy, it will still be part of the new entity when it is fully formed in 2022.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the attack a “dastardly act” and urged the local population to cooperate and “deny terrorism any victory”.

ADVERTISEMENT

National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, called those responsible “mass murderers” and “extremist criminals”.

“We will not allow them to spoil the preference of the people for peace,” he added.

Civilians bore the brunt of the attack, which also killed five soldiers. Police lowered the death toll from 27 to 20, after discovering duplications in initial records.

ADVERTISEMENT

The referendum came amid concerns about the presence of extremists in the Philippines and the possibility that foreign radicals will join those of Indonesia and Malaysia in gravitating to Mindanao to capitalize on porous borders, jungles and mountains, and an abundance of arms.

The Philippine military in mid-2017 encountered its biggest and longest battle since World War Two when an alliance of extremists loyal to Islamic State, among them foreigners and children, overran Marawi City and tried to establish a caliphate.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Big chain retailers — including Target and Home Depot — beg government to enforce standard mask-wearing nationwide

Published

on

In a letter sent to the National Governors Association, an industry group representing many of the largest retailers in the U.S. asked the country's governors to mandate and enforce rules requiring people to wear masks at all times while in public.

With the coronavirus spiking dramatically in some states, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Target and Home Depot among others, sent the letter on Monday, reports CBS News.

One major issue has been the increasing incidence of angry shoppers attacking employees due to non-standardized rules on masks.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Tech titan chiefs to testify at US antitrust committee

Published

on

The US House Committee on the Judiciary on Monday announced that leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will testify during an antitrust investigation hearing.

The hearing, scheduled to take place July 27, comes against a backdrop of growing complaints about tech platforms that have dominated key economic sectors, and calls by some activists and politicians to break up the Silicon Valley giants

Chief executives Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Sundar Pichai (Google) will be allowed to appear virtually if they wish, according to a joint statement released by Judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline.

Continue Reading
 

COVID-19

New Zealand restricts entry for Kiwis escaping coronavirus

Published

on

New Zealand began restricting the return of its own nationals Tuesday as the country faces an accelerating influx of citizens fleeing coronavirus outbreaks overseas and limited quarantine facilities.

National carrier Air New Zealand put a three-week freeze on new bookings and the government is in talks with other airlines to limit capacity, officials said.

New Zealand has gone 67 days without any cases of coronavirus in the community and its 22 active cases are all in managed quarantine facilities for New Zealanders flocking home from worsening epidemics elsewhere.

There are nearly 6,000 people currently undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the facilities and another 3,500 are due to arrive this week.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image